Revolution 250 Podcast

The Epic Revolutionary Saga with Jenny L. Cote

October 31, 2023 Jenny L. Cote Season 4 Episode 42
Revolution 250 Podcast
The Epic Revolutionary Saga with Jenny L. Cote
Show Notes Transcript

The Epic Revolutionary Saga is a planned 7-volume series of novels following Max (Scottie dog), Liz (a French cat) and a coterie of animal friends through the American Revolution.  Along the way they meet the central characters on both sides--the Patrick Henry (the Voice), George Washington (the Sword), Thomas Jefferson (the Pen), along with the Marquis de Lafayette, Colonel Banastre Tarleton, and a host of others in the founding of the United States.  We talk with author Jenny L. Cote, creator of the series, about the ways these books and her related projects engage younger audiences in the story of the American Revolution and the ideals it represents.  She has partnered with the National Park Service to create Epic Patriot Camp, to inspire young authors to write their own stories about the Revolution.  

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 Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Revolution 250 podcast.
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 I'm Bob Allison.
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 I chair the Rev 250 Advisory Group.
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 We are a collaborative enterprise among about 70 groups in Massachusetts looking at ways to commemorate the beginnings of the American Revolution.
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 And our guest today is Jenny Cody.
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 Jennifer L. Cody is the author of actually she's now on her third series of books for young readers about important things.
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 She did a series on
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 Tales of Max and Liz, who are your pets.
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 And then Max and Liz are time travelers.
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 And then the second series was The Epic Order of Seven, which takes them through the Bible.
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 And now you're embarked on a seven-volume series about the American Revolution.
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 And the first three books are out, The Voice, The Revolution, and The Key, The Declaration, The Sword, and The Spy, and The Marquee, The Escape, and The Fox.
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 And you're now working on volumes four and five.
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 So Jenny, thanks for joining us.
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 Oh, thanks for having me, Bob.
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 Great to be here.
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 It's great to have you.
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 And so what brought you and Max and Liz into the story of the revolution?
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 Well, Max and Liz, the real Max and Liz brought me into this whole thing.
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 There was a real Max.
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 There was a real Liz.
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 And I was watching them play fight one day and wondered when dogs and cats got on each other's nerves.
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 And then I thought, what would it be like if they met on the way to Noah's Ark?
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 And it started this adventure of them going through time, saving the day and pivotal points of human history.
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 So my first six books took me up to the fall of Rome.
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 Well, of course, history's got to keep going forward.
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 And I am a passionate historian.
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 And I love our American history.
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 So I'm like, I'm going to tell the story of the American Revolution with these time traveler animals that are going to teach kids the ins and outs of our independence like they've never heard it before.
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 That's great.
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 And so your books actually are thoroughly researched of what happened.
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 But do you add other fictional elements aside from Max and Liz?
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 What I like to call my...
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 genre really is historical fiction fantasy in that order.
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 You know, history is the stuff that really happened and I exhaust everything I can possibly know about what happened in our history.
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 Behind me, I have a bookshelves of 400 volumes on the American revolution, just my personal copies.
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 And I've researched it 15 years and I've been to every battlefield that I can get to in every event to just thoroughly get the ins and outs of the details as correctly as I know possible.
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 to capture them.
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 And then when I layer the fiction, when I bring George Washington to life or Samuel Adams, I've got to know their character so well to put words in their mouth.
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 So I use their letters, their documents for their dialogue.
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 And it has to be plausible when you layer on top of history.
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 And then the way the animals come into this whole thing, I look for those moments where we either don't know how or why something happened in history.
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 Plenty of those moments, right?
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 How did Washington escape from Brooklyn?
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 Oh, gee, a fog came up.
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 Well, we might need a weather dog to help us with that.
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 So, you know, I plug in these characters to fill in those gaps.
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 And they're the agents making these unknown things happen.
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 I don't alter the history, but I give a fun telling of how it could have happened.
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 And your recent book has Lafayette appears.
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 He's become a big presence, I think, in the story.
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 Oh, he has.
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 And one of the things that I'm passionate about telling through the entire series of the American Revolution is the French alliance.
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 And so many Americans do not understand we would not have won our independence without France.
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 You know, and the story of Beaumarchais and setting up the, you know, the dummy company to start sending us gunpowder and guns and so forth.
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 And then Lafayette, of course, being, you know, the tie, the link and Washington, you know, adopted son and our first friend.
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 And so I've been setting up the French alliance all along to show that.
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 And of course, Lafayette is front and center.
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 Right, right.
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 And the places themselves are very important to you as you're telling the story.
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 And you visit these places and really get a sense of the visual of what they look like, felt like.
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 And I tell kids all the time when I go speak in their schools and homeschool groups is, you know, if you can go see where history happened and you're writing about it, go.
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 You know, and my full confession, Bob, is I have to write books to support my research habit because it gets really expensive for me.
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 I've been in France several times.
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 I've been all over the U.S.
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 I flew up this summer for the reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth up to Boston.
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 You know, I was just at Kings Mountain a couple of weeks ago, just returned from Virginia for Victory Day.
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 You know, I get boots on the ground where history happened because there's no better way to tell it than going there and seeing where it happened.
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 And you were doing a tour of the Yorktown battlefield with the Marquis de Lafayette back a couple of weeks ago.
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 That's right.
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 It was fabulous.
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 Yes, we had about nearly 30 of us.
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 And the Marquis de Lafayette himself toured us around the battlefields and told the story of his involvement in the American Revolution.
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 That's great.
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 And I mean, you've also had an opportunity to write in interesting places.
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 You've written in Handel's composing room in London, as well as you've been to the home of C.S.
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 Lewitt, who I know is a great inspiration to you and your work.
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 So what's that like?
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 Writing on site is surreal.
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 And if you want to take, you know, my pen to a whole new level, you put me in the room where it happened, you know, to harken back to the Hamilton things.
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 And, yeah, so when I was writing book four, the Roman, the 12, and the King, it's the story of Hannah writing the Messiah and the story of Messiah.
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 I just asked Big for things.
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 I said, hey, could I come over and sit in Handel's composing room?
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 And they left me alone for six hours to do it.
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 So I asked Big for things.
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 I wrote the Liberty or Death theme in St.
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 John's Church.
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 So it really makes a big impact when I can do that.
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 And as you've been getting into the revolution, are there any particular characters who surprise you by standing out or are less important than you thought they were when you started out?
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 I mean, how do you find your characters?
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 Well, you know, it's hard for me because I want to put the kitchen sink of everybody in there.
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 You know, and of course, I've got to get the big players, you know, the main guys, the founding fathers.
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 But I love those lesser known characters that had they not done what they did, we would not be independent.
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 And Beaumarchais is a big one.
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 I just fell in love with the guy, you know, this, you know, whimsical playwright, the barber of Seville.
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 And he's a French spy.
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 And when Saratoga with guns, he got to us.
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 So stories like that and the unsung heroes, whether they be foreign allies that come or just regular Americans, it's important to tell every story I can.
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 It is.
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 It is.
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 I'm wondering how Max and Liz get along with Charles Lee's dogs.
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 Well, this is pretty funny.
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 I actually wrote my son's dog named Archer as one of Charles Lee's dogs.
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 So Archer is in there with Spada and all that.
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 And so, yeah, he made my life very convenient to have a bunch of dogs hanging around.
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 It was true.
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 And these officers, they would have a dog with them, so it was plausible.
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 And yes, Max helps Washington, and my other little Scotty jock helps Henry Knox get those guns from Fort Ty and bring them to drive the British out of Boston.
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 So see, I have to write these so you really know what was happening behind the scenes, Bob.
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 Right, right.
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 Yeah, you do.
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 Of course, I'm reminded of the book that I think got a lot of us into history, Robert Lawton's Ben and Me with the mouse and Benjamin Franklin.
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 You've taken this in a big direction with the seven volumes with the dogs doing all of this.
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 And I have a mouse as well, Nigel P. Monaco, and he's my British mouse.
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 And then my cat, my French cat, Nigel and Liz are brilliant with a pen when I need a letter written to somebody to inspire them to do something or go somewhere or be somewhere.
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 Or fly on an eagle if I need to have aerial reconnaissance of the Battle of Bunker Hill or whatever it is.
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 The whole animal kingdom is with you.
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 That's right.
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 I guess maybe it's the animal republic.
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 That's right.
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 Well, there's seven of them.
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 And the cool thing is two of them can take any shape or form.
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 They can be, you know, someone that we know did something, but we don't know who the name was in history.
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 And I slide them into that that scene.
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 Now, what can you tell us, Jenny, about your audience?
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 I mean, who is reading your books?
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 Who are your both ideal readers and real readers?
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 Well, surprisingly, when I started on this venture, my target was 8 to 12.
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 The reality is 7 to 98.
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 Half my readers are adults.
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 And these books are 650 pages.
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 They're chunky.
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 They're not little picture books.
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 They're big.
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 And C.S.
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 Lewis once said, a children's book that does not entertain an adult is not a good children's book.
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 And so there's a kid in all of us, right, that loves that fantasy element.
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 And there's a lot of people out there who are not history geeks like you and I, who wouldn't go near or pick up a history book, but they'll follow these animals and they'll have a good time.
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 And they're going to get that same content from my 400 adult books that you and I would just devour and they would never go near.
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 And so it's been really exciting to see parents read it with their kids, grandparents.
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 fall in love with the characters as well.
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 And so it's teaching families, not just kids.
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 That's great.
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 We're talking with Jenny Cody, who is the author of the Epic Revolutionary Saga, projected seven, Epic Order of the Seven is her book series on the biblical history.
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 Now we have the Epic Revolutionary Saga, three volumes so far, The Marquee, The Escape, and The Fox is the latest one, and four more on the way.
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 You've also been doing workshops on writing.
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 You did one at Kings Mountain not that long ago, which must be a very exciting thing to go to a go to a place and then be have young people you're helping to learn how to craft a story.
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 Oh, absolutely.
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 I love it.
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 I'm passionate about what I write, but I'm equally as passionate about who I write it for.
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 And that is to inspire the next generation to just fall in love with America and her history and then learn to write the story.
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 You know, I know I'm not going to be around forever and I've got to pass the baton to the next generation.
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 So I was very honored to partner with the National Park Service several years ago at Kings Mountain to develop a writing camp called Epic Patriot Camp.
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 And kids came, and they dressed out in period attire, and they assumed the identity of a patriot or loyalist who was there at the Battle of Kings Mountain.
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 And I taught them how to march through museums, grounds to walk through, people to talk to, all these things.
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 And they crafted a story within that three days where –
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 They told the story of Kings Mountain from the perspective of their character.
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 And Bob, there would be kids who showed up the first day and were like, oh, it's a riding camp.
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 This is such a drag.
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 And by the third day, they couldn't wait to dress out.
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 Tell me what they learned about their character.
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 So it's exciting to see young people get excited about history.
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 And we took an in-person camp and now it's virtual.
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 And we have taken 25 young people the last two summers and actually published their work on Amazon.
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 Oh, that's terrific.
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 That's terrific.
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 And of course, you do have to have characters from both sides.
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 I'm wondering how you do a Tarleton or the bad guys.
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 How do you portray them?
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 Oh, well, I love my bad guys.
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 And Tarleton is my chief nemesis villain.
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 You know, I just love to hate him.
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 But, you know, I love writing my villains as much as my good guys.
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 And, you know, but I have to stay true to the true history.
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 Of course, it's delicious as he was portrayed in.
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 The Patriot, fictionally, as Tavington, he was not as vicious as he was portrayed.
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 I was really bummed when I found that out.
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 So I have to stay true to their character and, again, exhaust everything I can.
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 And then there's the element of showing there's a lot of good guys who were on the opposing side.
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 Yeah, yeah.
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 you know and and what is so amazing to me after victory at Yorktown how the officer sat down for dinner right it's just it's it was a different time I think it certainly was it certainly was um not to give away what's going to happen but how is Cornwallis coming along in your your book
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 Well, he's just high and mighty right now because he the Marquise Fox goes from April 76 to April 77.
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 And so he was sure he was going to beg that old Fox George Washington the next morning.
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 But we end with the Battle of Princeton.
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 And so his jaws love hanging open at the moment.
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 But yeah.
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 But I will look forward to capturing him in Yorktown as the series progresses.
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 But, you know, he's also a very sympathetic character.
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 He loved his family.
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 You know, he was grief-stricken with the loss of his wife.
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 So I try to bring out the personal elements of these characters.
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 They were real people that had struggles at home.
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 Yeah, yeah.
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 In the last few weeks, the horrors of war have really been brought home to us.
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 I'm wondering, and your books do cover really gruesome events, and these are for young readers.
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 I wonder how you handle all of the violence of the revolution.
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 And, you know, that's a very good question.
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 And I tread very carefully because I don't want to sugarcoat what happened.
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 Neither do I want to horrify my main character.
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 promise to parents is that their kids are going to be safe within the pages of my book.
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 And so I portray the, the brutality of war and I might have, you know, my, my evil grenadier bayonet, somebody like they did, you know, Lexington and Concord and I shoot him straight exactly what happened or but I don't,
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 I don't go on and on about it.
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 Kids need to understand, you know, you shoot kids straight with the truth, but you do it crafted in such a way that they can handle it.
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 Kids are exposed to so much more today than we were.
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 But so far, I have yet to ever have a single complaint that the book was too hard or too much.
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 And I do have readers that read, both kids and adults, that read prior to publication that I want that feedback.
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 Tell me, am I going a little bit too far here?
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 Is it not enough?
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 Is it just right?
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 So that's important to me.
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 Now, do you have a background in writing for children?
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 Is this something you had done before you, Max and Liz, started taking you on these adventures?
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 I don't.
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 Isn't that crazy?
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 I mean, when I was eight years old, I was writing.
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 I wrote stories about talking fruit.
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 And so I was writing as a kid all the time.
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 And I met Phil Visser, who did Veggie Tales.
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 And I told him I wrote fruit details long before he wrote Veggie Tales.
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 But no, my career path took me to two degrees in marketing.
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 And I was in marketing and strategic planning and business development for the Children's Hospital.
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 And so sometimes it takes a while to find out what we want to do.
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 But that is serving me so well now that my love for research has
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 pouring into my work.
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 And of course, to make it as an author, you got to know market, right?
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 And so it's fun being able to use all those things now.
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 And I love kids and I've always taught kids like in a church setting, but my mom was an English teacher.
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 I'm surrounded by education all the time.
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 But no, but I love it.
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 And I've appeared to thousands and thousands and thousands of kids in schools over the years.
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 Yeah, I love it.
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 That's great.
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 We're talking with Jenny Cody, who's author of the Epic Revolutionary Saga.
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 And I have to say, your website really shows your expertise as a marketer, but also it's not a lot of heavy hits.
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 Sites are simply say, buy my book, buy my book.
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 But yours really are very engaging with lots of different parts of what you're doing as a way of telling these stories.
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 Thank you.
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 16:40.825 --> 16:49.251
 And I love to put behind the scenes videos of my research, where I go and, you know, just how a book comes together.
 16:49.764 --> 16:53.146
 some of the character background and pictures of my research.
 16:53.306 --> 17:02.232
 And, you know, I put a lot of pictures up of sites I've been to because I want readers to get excited, read my book, and then go see where it happens.
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 Go to Boston.
 17:03.113 --> 17:03.933
 17:03.974 --> 17:08.136
 You know, go toss some tea, you know, at the tea party.
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 December 16th, yeah.
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 And I did it this summer.
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 I had a blast.
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 I had never been.
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 And so I'm like, I'm going to go.
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 And it was the most brilliant museum.
 17:16.722 --> 17:17.923
 And they carried my book.
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 And it was just so much fun.
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 Stop in there.
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 Yeah, that's good.
 17:21.725 --> 17:30.188
 And your first the first volume of the series, The Voice is obviously Patrick Henry, who is the big character in that part of this.
 17:30.228 --> 17:32.489
 And he has a role later on.
 17:32.589 --> 17:39.072
 So what can you tell us about your relationship with Patrick Henry or Max and Liz's relationship with Patrick Henry?
 17:39.676 --> 17:43.080
 Well, I love Patrick Henry as my favorite founding father.
 17:43.160 --> 17:56.677
 And, you know, he was he was the first one to speak out what everybody else was thinking, but was too afraid to say in 1761, way before, you know, with the Parsons cause and way before any of that.
 17:58.199 --> 17:58.980
 liberty or death.
 17:59.821 --> 18:09.513
 And his Stamp Act speech, he says, was the most important thing in 1765 that he ever said to start, as Jefferson said, to start the ball of the revolution rolling.
 18:09.533 --> 18:12.637
 Well, here in Boston, we would say James Otis was doing
 18:13.538 --> 18:41.760
 absolutely absolutely and I have him in there as well and all of these guys but it's like isn't it the most amazing thing to watch these early patriot Americans who were it always takes a bold voice to be the first one to speak it Patrick Henry he was such a prophet he was trying to get Virginia ready hey what's happening in Boston you don't think it can happen here and sure enough three weeks after living your death boom
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 The powder was being taken in Williamsburg.
 18:46.186 --> 18:51.873
 And they looked at Henry's background up to that point and predicted that this is the role he was going to play.
 18:51.954 --> 18:56.680
 He kind of had come into law and politics a little later in his career.
 18:57.168 --> 18:59.008
 He was a failure at everything he tried.
 18:59.309 --> 19:01.629
 He was a failed merchant, a failed farmer.
 19:02.789 --> 19:13.632
 And, you know, law was just his last chance to try to do something because he was living in Hanover Tavern across from Hanover Courthouse after his house burned down.
 19:13.652 --> 19:17.853
 And he would listen to the lawyers come in at lunchtime or, you know, after work.
 19:17.893 --> 19:19.433
 And he's like, well, maybe I'll try law.
 19:19.793 --> 19:26.415
 Sometimes it takes a while, again, to find your true calling, just like he was writing and Patrick Henry lawyering.
 19:27.558 --> 19:30.189
 Then he studies the law for a very brief time.
 19:31.465 --> 19:35.188
 the gentlemen of the bar say, okay, we'll give you a license, but you really should study more.
 19:35.688 --> 19:35.988
 19:36.689 --> 19:37.229
 That's right.
 19:37.730 --> 19:43.074
 And he becomes the most brilliant attorney in Virginia and some would say in all the colonies.
 19:43.774 --> 19:54.282
 And so, and, and, you know, but he was also willing to pick up his musket, you know, and when Dunmore stole the powder, he was the first one to lead the Hanover men.
 19:54.622 --> 19:57.344
 So he was willing to put his money where his mouth was.
 19:57.524 --> 20:00.347
 And, and of course he was, you know, head of the Virginia, um,
 20:01.431 --> 20:04.792
 company and they said, Henry, we need you more in the field.
 20:05.053 --> 20:09.635
 I mean, in the courtroom and in the state house than in the field.
 20:09.755 --> 20:13.776
 And so he had to lay down his muscles, again, using those skills where he was most needed.
 20:13.816 --> 20:19.979
 So he was vital before the war, during the war, you know, Washington attributes
 20:20.566 --> 20:25.149
 Henry was helping to save the Continent Army with all the supplies that he sent to them.
 20:25.169 --> 20:28.871
 And then after the war, he fought for our Bill of Rights here for three years.
 20:29.011 --> 20:32.313
 He was quite not satisfied that the Constitution was not going to have a Bill of Rights.
 20:32.553 --> 20:35.255
 So he's a real hero politically.
 20:35.495 --> 20:41.399
 And I try to show kids, look, it takes the pen and the sword and the word.
 20:42.460 --> 20:44.241
 Henry was the voice of the revolution.
 20:45.526 --> 20:51.650
 Washington was the sword of the revolution, the voice, the sword, and then Jefferson was the pen of the revolution.
 20:51.710 --> 20:55.272
 And it took all three to make this happen, to get our independence.
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 We're talking with Jenny Cody, who clearly is not from Massachusetts because the three people she identified are all Virginians.
 21:01.919 --> 21:09.160
 But I wonder, you know, I think, could you tell, could we talk a little bit more about the Parsons cause and what all of that was?
 21:09.200 --> 21:19.022
 As I said, we tilt more toward the writs of assistance, but that's a really an epic story about Virginia with the Parsons cause and the tech.
 21:19.082 --> 21:20.042
 It's a complicated thing.
 21:20.082 --> 21:22.883
 I don't want to need to get into all the details of the,
 21:23.325 --> 21:31.214
 how the Anglican ministers were paid and why they should be paid and why Henry calls them basically blood-sucking, rapacious insects.
 21:31.254 --> 21:32.916
 Yes, rapacious harpies, yes.
 21:33.036 --> 21:35.438
 Or take from the widow her last blanket.
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 Oh, I know.
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 He's so brilliant.
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 So funny.
 21:40.545 --> 21:40.766
 21:41.106 --> 21:42.567
 Yes, it was a complicated thing.
 21:42.627 --> 21:50.131
 But Parsons, you know, of course, the Anglican Church was a state church and Parsons were paid with tobacco.
 21:50.231 --> 21:58.896
 And then with the drought that happened in Virginia, you know, the Virginia House of Burgesses passed, you know, a temporary, you know, two penny act that passed.
 21:59.912 --> 22:03.875
 to pay them at the same rate that they were and not the elevated rate.
 22:04.075 --> 22:05.697
 The price of tobacco shoots up.
 22:05.817 --> 22:09.900
 So, but then that means they're getting this much bigger salary.
 22:10.440 --> 22:10.720
 22:10.941 --> 22:17.806
 And so, you know, they sent a guy off to London to petition, you know, Parliament and the King, hey, we want our increase.
 22:17.886 --> 22:20.048
 I mean, you know, a lot of greed here.
 22:20.668 --> 22:25.272
 And so Patrick Henry went to bat with, you know,
 22:25.572 --> 22:26.112
 against them.
 22:26.212 --> 22:28.273
 And actually the case was actually resolved.
 22:28.833 --> 22:34.796
 It was, he was only stepping in to determine what the damages would be to the Parsons.
 22:35.156 --> 22:36.636
 And he was so brilliant.
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 He goes on a rail and paints them just, you know, awful, as you said, and wins the case for the people.
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 And, you know, they're awarded like a farthing.
 22:46.421 --> 22:47.142
 It's brilliant.
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 And then he carried around on the shoulders of the people.
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 And that's why the people loved him so much because he was one of them.
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 He wasn't with the aristocracy.
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 He came from nothing.
 22:58.296 --> 23:01.420
 And he spoke for the common people.
 23:02.561 --> 23:03.221
 to their needs.
 23:03.301 --> 23:07.102
 And so that's why he was such a hero in that regard.
 23:07.142 --> 23:10.883
 But yeah, a lot of delicious history down south as well as up north.
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 There is, there is.
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 And it reminds us that this was a continental effort.
 23:17.305 --> 23:23.746
 A lot of people who might have had different ideas, different interests, all come together in this cause, as they called it.
 23:24.566 --> 23:25.067
 That's right.
 23:25.247 --> 23:30.528
 And, you know, when Patrick Henry met John Adams and, you know, Samuel, and
 23:31.400 --> 23:32.782
 the First Continental Congress.
 23:32.982 --> 23:44.494
 And, you know, when he was the first one to say, I'm not a Virginian, I'm an American, you know, and that was important to, you know, they started squabbling the first time the colonies got together.
 23:44.514 --> 23:47.597
 And Patrick Henry was a voice of unity.
 23:48.098 --> 23:48.418
 He was.
 23:48.438 --> 23:49.299
 He was.
 23:49.339 --> 23:53.623
 And I think, you know, you get that sense from John Adams's diary that Henry is
 23:54.525 --> 23:58.652
 So Adams is not impressed with a lot of other people whom he's corresponded with.
 23:58.692 --> 23:59.894
 He's read what they've written.
 24:00.696 --> 24:04.823
 And he thinks, boy, John Dickinson really is a strange guy and other things.
 24:04.883 --> 24:07.508
 But Henry is really captivates him.
 24:08.482 --> 24:09.363
 Yes, yes.
 24:10.123 --> 24:13.785
 And Henry, he was such a big man.
 24:13.845 --> 24:17.848
 He saw such a bigger picture, I think.
 24:18.028 --> 24:21.050
 And yeah, he and John Adams, they saw eye to eye.
 24:21.150 --> 24:22.111
 They were good friends.
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 And it's interesting.
 24:24.592 --> 24:38.558
 As the in later years after the war, did you know it was Washington and Henry, despite their disagreements on the formation of our government, they never allowed their disagreements to dissolve their friendship.
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 There was a lot of founding fathers that have falling outs.
 24:41.179 --> 24:42.620
 And Washington and Henry never did.
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 They kept their friendship above all and such amazing men of character.
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 Really, they are.
 24:49.563 --> 24:56.151
 Now, how do you take so someone like Washington often seems like he's made of marble, but you have to make him a real character.
 24:56.211 --> 24:58.814
 So how do you do that as an author?
 25:00.076 --> 25:05.022
 Well, you know, Martha is a big help in that regard.
 25:05.526 --> 25:20.114
 you know, and showing the personal side of him because, you know, he was very stoic, but you also realize Washington was a human being and you look at everything that was opposing him inside and outside.
 25:20.194 --> 25:30.140
 And, you know, the marquee, the escape of the Fox, the assassination attempt made on his life in New York is getting there from one of his own lifeguards.
 25:30.360 --> 25:30.480
 25:31.946 --> 25:37.729
 And the fighting, he's having to do with the enemy, without and within, with lack of everything.
 25:37.969 --> 25:40.230
 He doesn't want to really be there.
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 When he steps up to the post, he's like, I'm telling you today, I don't think that I am equipped to do this, but I'm going to give it my best shot.
 25:48.134 --> 25:50.115
 I don't care how strong an individual is.
 25:50.495 --> 25:54.337
 Human nature shows that behind the scenes, I know he struggled.
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 And see, this is one way I'm able to show that side of Washington when he's alone with Max.
 26:00.888 --> 26:01.168
 26:01.469 --> 26:03.210
 To kind of even speak or pour out his heart.
 26:03.431 --> 26:05.193
 You're going to see a human side of him.
 26:05.213 --> 26:05.813
 26:06.154 --> 26:07.735
 You know, we talk to our pets, right?
 26:07.755 --> 26:09.637
 And he's like, oh, next I'm going to rub there or whatever.
 26:10.018 --> 26:16.124
 So you might get some of his private correspondence that he sent to others expressing his despair.
 26:16.144 --> 26:16.364
 26:17.365 --> 26:18.966
 He seeks it for that.
 26:19.326 --> 26:19.966
 Interesting, yeah.
 26:20.146 --> 26:28.769
 Because he does write a lot to his family, to Martha, and really getting this much different perspective than the guy who's always sure of what's going to happen.
 26:28.889 --> 26:31.370
 Often he doesn't know how this is going to turn out.
 26:31.410 --> 26:33.991
 He knows what the consequences will be for him if they don't.
 26:34.171 --> 26:36.091
 Go on.
 26:38.294 --> 27:02.920
 talking with jenny cody author of the epic revolutionary saga seven volume series for young readers although all readers will enjoy it on the american revolution through the eyes of max lizzie and their their friends so we were talking about washington and getting a sense of the private washington from and how he's conveying this to max and liz and the other
 27:04.369 --> 27:10.612
 other animals, things you might not tell Nathaniel Green or Alexander Hamilton.
 27:11.332 --> 27:12.013
 Right, right.
 27:12.493 --> 27:17.715
 And so Washington, the human being, struggling behind the scenes.
 27:17.796 --> 27:22.818
 But what I so admire about him, he wasn't just putting on a show or airs.
 27:23.138 --> 27:29.041
 He was genuine in his commitment as a leader to strength.
 27:30.168 --> 27:31.449
 To inspire his men.
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 And, you know, I love reading the accounts of men just with his sheer presence riding by or walking by.
 27:39.474 --> 27:43.877
 He didn't have to utter a word, but just how he composed himself.
 27:43.917 --> 27:50.182
 And, you know, Lafayette, the first time he sees him, he says, I knew who he was by how he walked into the room.
 27:50.482 --> 27:51.202
 Yes, yes.
 27:52.143 --> 27:55.445
 And Washington, of course, doesn't know who Lafayette is the first time he sees him.
 27:55.465 --> 27:58.547
 There's another French officer coming and will cause trouble.
 27:59.228 --> 27:59.448
 27:59.975 --> 28:18.866
 he's like what am i supposed to do with this 19 year old you know and uh and little does he know that uh and and i love lafayette he's like i haven't come here to you know to leave but to burn you know and and it's the most one of the most beautiful stories i love about washington and lafayette was
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 You know, Washington essentially, right, started the French and Indian War.
 28:24.468 --> 28:24.768
 28:24.988 --> 28:32.272
 You know, I mean, it wasn't an intentional thing, which led to the Seven Years' War, which orphaned Lafayette at the Battle of Menden.
 28:33.553 --> 28:34.914
 Lafayette was an orphan.
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 And then Washington, who could have no children of his own, essentially adopts Lafayette as a son.
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 The most beautiful turn of events with those two.
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 And just as he needed someone that he could trust
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 Deep behind the scenes, Lafayette was there.
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 And so I'll be unpacking that in the next volume.
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 I've just got Lafayette on La Vite Trois to sail over to America in this latest book.
 29:09.527 --> 29:09.887
 29:10.348 --> 29:13.250
 And you've become involved with the American Friends of Lafayette.
 29:13.290 --> 29:20.756
 And they have big plans for 2024, 2025, which is the bicentennial of Lafayette's visit, his triumphal return in 1824, 1825.
 29:23.687 --> 29:24.607
 29:24.747 --> 29:26.928
 It is going to be a ginormous year.
 29:26.988 --> 29:32.170
 I encourage you to please check out the website of the American Friends of Lafayette and Lafayette 200.
 29:33.751 --> 29:34.711
 Big celebration.
 29:34.751 --> 29:41.893
 So yes, as in 1824-25, Lafayette was invited back as a guest of the nation by President Monroe.
 29:42.374 --> 29:45.415
 And in 13 months, he visited 24 states.
 29:45.635 --> 29:51.897
 And for an elderly general, this was something, but it galvanized America.
 29:52.137 --> 29:52.237
 29:52.957 --> 29:57.640
 brought the remembrance back of what we did together and our friendship with France.
 29:57.740 --> 30:05.445
 And so we're going to be actually, the American Friends of Lafayette has committees across all these states, the 24 states he visited.
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 We're going to be launching in New York next August.
 30:08.387 --> 30:09.567
 It's going to be huge.
 30:09.587 --> 30:11.829
 You can see actually the whole calendar of events.
 30:12.609 --> 30:15.931
 Lafayette will be riding down Broadway in a coach.
 30:16.011 --> 30:17.432
 It's going to be magnificent.
 30:17.612 --> 30:21.054
 And so there will be events all to...
 30:23.086 --> 30:27.107
 kind of reenact Lafayette's original route and every place that he stopped.
 30:27.127 --> 30:32.689
 You know, all these towns and cities named Fayette, Lafayette, all over.
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 La Grange.
 30:33.729 --> 30:37.991
 La Grange, Georgia is because Lafayette stopped there on the tour.
 30:38.531 --> 30:40.331
 And so I'm part of that.
 30:40.431 --> 30:52.255
 And one of the things that I'm very excited about, I have been graciously invited to be the chairman of a Lafayette essay contest that we are going to be having with kids.
 30:52.995 --> 31:01.159
 in these 24 states to write an essay on Lafayette and his meaning to America then and now.
 31:01.779 --> 31:14.606
 So I'll be coming out with some fun information about this very soon and with the hope to get the next generation to know Lafayette and to know about this French alliance and what he meant to us.
 31:15.421 --> 31:15.881
 That's wonderful.
 31:15.901 --> 31:20.104
 You know, Boston has two La Grange streets as well as a Lafayette place.
 31:20.944 --> 31:22.165
 And he visited here twice.
 31:22.205 --> 31:29.910
 He came in 1824 and they said, it's too bad you didn't come next year because we're laying the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill monument.
 31:29.930 --> 31:30.871
 And he said, I will come back.
 31:31.411 --> 31:32.051
 And he did.
 31:32.472 --> 31:42.137
 And so he returned actually to lay the cornerstone for the Bunker Hill monument and took home with him a barrel of dirt so that when he died, he could be buried in the soil of Bunker Hill.
 31:42.238 --> 31:42.598
 I mean, it's a
 31:43.159 --> 31:44.222
 Tremendous story.
 31:45.325 --> 31:46.548
 It is.
 31:46.568 --> 31:48.213
 And I've been to Picpus Cemetery.
 31:48.253 --> 31:50.059
 I've seen his grave and I've seen the marker.
 31:50.583 --> 31:53.345
 you know, of, about that very thing.
 31:53.405 --> 31:58.849
 So it's, he truly was an American patriot and I, I just love him.
 31:59.109 --> 32:12.899
 And, and he, he did so much for this nation then and now, and as an abolitionist, you know, and trying to forward that movement of freedom for all, he's just such a hero.
 32:13.339 --> 32:13.479
 32:13.499 --> 32:19.023
 He made it a point on his visit to stay in the homes of free Black people, as well as with Native Americans.
 32:19.323 --> 32:19.944
 That's right.
 32:20.044 --> 32:20.244
 And he,
 32:21.328 --> 32:27.592
 And in Illinois, a woman comes to see him who has this little leather pouch that her father had given her.
 32:27.612 --> 32:30.774
 And inside, she said, is a very powerful medicine that her father had.
 32:30.854 --> 32:35.097
 And it's a letter from Lafayette, the testimonial to this man's service in the revolution.
 32:35.637 --> 32:38.919
 And she said, whenever her father was in trouble with white people, he would show this.
 32:40.000 --> 32:45.483
 And then he meets Red Jacket, who was an Indian who had fought against Lafayette.
 32:45.603 --> 32:48.225
 And then they're reminiscing about this treaty.
 32:48.425 --> 32:48.485
 32:50.796 --> 32:55.540
 And Lafayette asks about the young man who was very hotheaded about not signing the treaty.
 32:55.560 --> 32:56.260
 What happened to him?
 32:56.280 --> 32:58.802
 And of course, it's this man.
 33:00.123 --> 33:05.086
 I mean, there are so many stories about Lafayette and his role both in the revolution and afterwards.
 33:05.186 --> 33:10.210
 I can see why you've become enraptured with him and why he's becoming such a character in this series.
 33:10.626 --> 33:11.587
 Oh, absolutely.
 33:11.627 --> 33:17.971
 And that's the frustrating thing about writing my books, because it's like I've got to tell the whole story of the revolution.
 33:17.991 --> 33:21.253
 Of course, every character deserves their own volumes.
 33:21.373 --> 33:29.338
 And I can't do every single story, but I certainly try to hit, especially those unknown ones that are just so special, that really reveal the character.
 33:29.819 --> 33:37.784
 This is great and really gets these kids engaged in the whole story and knowing these characters in a way that they wouldn't if they're just reading a textbook.
 33:38.703 --> 33:38.963
 33:39.103 --> 33:45.505
 And, you know, in school, many times it's OK, memorize these dates and places so we can test you.
 33:45.545 --> 33:47.046
 So, you know, dates and places.
 33:47.206 --> 33:51.147
 And so with and it's a very flat, two dimensional character.
 33:51.207 --> 33:58.689
 But when you really get to know them and I love hearing from kids, they email me all the time like I never understood anything.
 33:59.887 --> 34:05.231
 really what it was all about and what it took and the price that was paid for our independence.
 34:05.892 --> 34:09.115
 And the kids, they love hearing the lesser known stories too.
 34:09.155 --> 34:11.497
 And what I try to drive home is look,
 34:12.245 --> 34:14.986
 Every American has a role to play for our country.
 34:15.066 --> 34:17.506
 We all have a part to play in history right now.
 34:19.026 --> 34:20.907
 This American experiment is still going.
 34:22.067 --> 34:33.970
 And it's up to the next generation to keep what our founding fathers bled and fought for to give us this precious jewel of liberty, as Patrick Henry coined the phrase.
 34:35.470 --> 34:36.291
 To keep it going.
 34:36.471 --> 34:39.614
 And so, and we do that by stories, do we not?
 34:39.975 --> 34:41.256
 We learn by stories.
 34:41.316 --> 34:45.500
 We learn by bits and facts, but we really get the essence of it through story.
 34:45.841 --> 34:46.221
 We do.
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 Yes, yes.
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 And the final volume in the series is the rise.
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 Well, actually, book six is the rise, the fall and the jewel.
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 And that's really takes us through the Constitution and beyond into the first 80 years or so of the Republic.
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 The Republic, if you can keep it, as Franklin had said back in 1787.
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 We've been talking with Jenny Cody, author of the Epic Revolutionary Saga, and we'll share her website for you so you can find out more about her work.
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 And it's been tremendous talking to you, Jenny.
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 Is there anything else we should say?
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 I mean, other than pick up the book?
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 Well, if you'd like to get the books signed and autographed, again, get them at my website or wherever you have them.
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 But certainly, please check out the books that our epic patriot campers wrote.
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 You can find them on Amazon or on my website, The Epic Story of 1776 and 1777 to 79.
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 And encourage that next generation of young authors and historians to keep writing.
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 That really is what it's about, getting the next generation.
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 So the 300th anniversary and the 400th anniversary will be commemorated the way they should.
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 So thank you so much, Jenny, for joining us.
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 Thank you.
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 And I want to thank Jonathan Lane, our producer, as well as our many friends.
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 You know, Jenny, when we started doing these podcasts, we thought our
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 We'd have a handful of our friends in and around New England tuning in, and we do, and happy to have them, but also every week we thank folks in other parts of the country or parts of the world.
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 So if you are in one of these places and want some of our Revolution 250 tchotchkes, send an email to Jonathan Lane, jlane at
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 And this week, special thanks to our friends in Steubenville, Ohio, Long Beach, California, Piscataway, New Jersey,
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 Greenwich and Port Chester, both in the great Empire State of New York, and Madison Heights, Michigan, and Madison, Mississippi, and all places beyond and between.
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 Thanks for joining us.
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 And now we will be piped out on the road to Boston.